Randy Pitchford buys the Magic Castle, 'the most unusual private club in the world'

The Magic Castle in LA.
(Image credit: Valerie Macon via Getty)

Gearbox founder and lifelong magician Randy Pitchford has agreed a deal to buy the Magic Castle in Hollywood. The Magic Castle is a property on Franklin Avenue beloved of magicians and guests alike, a mix of clubhouse and performance venue, and Pitchford's putting in the cash to preserve it as just that (thanks, CBS).

"Basically everything I know about entertainment started at the Magic Castle," said Pitchford, whose magic specialty is sleight-of-hand. I feel like I owe my career to the Magic Castle."

The Magic Castle is an Edwardian manor in a Gothic style built in 1908 by Rollin Lane, a Redlands financier and orange grower, and his wife, Katherine. In the 1960s it was bought by the Glover family, and leased to the founders of the Magic Castle. It is the headquarters for the Academy of Magical Arts, a group of several thousand magicians and enthusiasts dedicated to the celebration and preservation of magic.

The Magic Castle in LA.

(Image credit: Valerie Macon via Getty)

Recent times had not been too good, however, and coronavirus forcing its temporary closure didn't help. Last year the Magic Castle was also the subject of an LA Times investigation in which 12 guests and former employees accused staff and academy members of sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of race or gender.

The academy was the subject of various offers, including one from a real estate developer, and "was draining its nest egg precipitously," said Pitchford.

The deal includes the Magic Castle Hotel, an on-site hotel, and Pitchford has not yet revealed the price or his future plans. Other random Pitchford magic facts: he's the grandnephew of 20th century master magician Richard Valentine Pitchford, known as the Great Cardini.

Famous magicians including David Copperfield and Penn Jillete lined up to praise Pitchford. "All of the magic community is applauding Randy and excited about the new era of the Magic Castle," said Jillette. "And now maybe I can get in without a tie because I know Randy."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."